Building Community Through the Arts

Our 2023 Young Writers’ Contest Winners

Spencertown Academy has proudly offered this competition since 2015. Our goal is to encourage creative writing among students in grades 9-12 (including homeschool) in Columbia County, NY and Berkshire County, MA. This year’s contest attracted 28 creative individuals, writing in either Fiction or Non-Fiction (personal essay) categories.

Works were judged in an anonymous process by published authors and publishing professionals, who volunteered their services for this contest.

This year’s judges include:

  • David Cudaback – David is a retired magazine writer and editor.
  • Elaine Khosrova – Elaine is the author of Butter, A Rich History, and has worked for various national magazines.
  • Emily A. McCully – Emily is the author of an O’ Henry Prize story, two adult novels and many children’s books.
  • Kathy Zdeb – Kathy wrote about music and people for newspapers and magazines, before turning to science writing.

We really cannot thank them enough for their time and the thought they put into their co-operative decisions. Each category has three prizes – $250, $150 and $100. We look forward to the winners possibly reading their stories at our Festival of Books in September.

Please note: there were numerous entries in the non-fiction section, many with potential. However after careful consideration, the judges decided to award only first and second place.

This Year’s Winners

Fiction/Short Story

Final works in the Fiction category were selected by and Emily A. McCully and Elaine Khosrova

First Place: Mira Pierce

Ninth grade. Chatham High School.
Lonesome Town

  • Second Place: Abira Khair, 9th Grade, Hudson High School, Saturn’s Rings
  • Third Place: Ava Young, 10th Grade, Berkshire Waldorf High School, Living For Rose
  • Honorable Mention: LoPa Grannis Pflaum, 10th Grade, Red Hook High School, Nosy People

Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir

Final works in the Nonfiction category were chosen by David Cudaback and Kathy Zdeb.

First Place: Amelia Scheriff

Twelfth grade. Chatham High School.

  • First Place: Amelia Scheriff, 12th Grade, Chatham High School, Namesake
  • Second Place: Carlos Lopez, 12th Grade, Hudson High School, El Otro Lado del Odio

Enjoy reading these impressive works by six talented teenagers.

NYSCA logo
Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 
Hawthorne Valley Association logo
This program is generously supported by Hawthorne Valley.
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